Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First Ride to New Work Location in Minnetonka

Well, this last weekend our company finally made the big move from way out in Maple Grove to out in Minnetonka. I had been studying and discussing bike options for this new location, it definitely was now within reach of me, as a casual biker and occasional bike commuter. And since the weather was not too shabby I needed to get this out of my system before the beginning of winter.

Great route along Minneapolis Greenway and Cedar Lake Trail. It must be about 70% on bike trails! Will verify this, though. All in all a much easier ride than going to Thomson Reuters in Eagan, even though it is a couple of miles longer. No significant hills at all! That's good and bad: a lower barrier to actually doing the ride but less of a training effect.

Issues for my first ride:

1. Went into the neighborhood off W River Road and needed to carry my bike up a flight of stairs. Next time I'll stay on River Road right up to the trail head.
2. After Lake Calhoun I should have hopped onto Dean Blvd for a shortcut. Instead I followed the Greenway to the intersection with Kenwirth Trail.
3. Stopped at Victoria Rd. to check my chicken scratches. I was right on.
4. Ice-cold feet. Need to invest in some shoe covers. Maybe a plastic baggie around my running shoes?
5. The dark was not an issue, my bike light was plenty bright, as was the street and trail lighting.

Interesting to see how many cyclists were out, I crossed and passed fewer than a couple dozen. A few joggers and folks walking their dogs, too. Cedar Lake Trail goes through along BNSF railroad with overgrown easement and through some wetlands, which is very nice.

After work I went back via the Mill City District and the Stone arch Bridge. I appreciated the stiff back wind, especially when seeing how hard the cyclists heading homeward from Minneapolis were working. The trail was very easy to find, within 30 minutes I was at the new Twins stadium. The first time I needed to stop after getting on Cedar lake trail was when I hit the river.

Again smooth riding, across the Stone Arch Bridge and then onto SE Main Street. I must have missed my turn for all of a sudden I found myself on a railroad service road. There was a squad car parked a little further down and fully expected to be turned back, but the officers paid me no heed. So I continued, crossing Dinkytown below street level and re-emerging onto fifth street behind the Ridder Arena. I stopped shortly at the Gopher Football Stadium to see if Lynn might be in her office. She wasn't, so I continued.

After I got my big light on I merged into the heavy bike traffic on the UMN Transit Way and was home in another 10 minutes. This seems to be the route of choice for a quick commute to work, barely more than an hour, admittedly with a lot of help from the strong westerly wind.

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